Nick Ayres has been in the industry long enough to say he’s founded some Facebook pages.
As a social leader, you’ve got to walk a line between being a realist and being incredibly passionate about the opportunities that are out there.
He started as an Interactive Marketing Manager at The Home Depot back in 2007 working to create DIY home improvement videos for their site. Nick says they realized YouTube was the perfect place to start featuring these videos, and as the platform took off, so did their content.
With another teammate on the customer care and PR side of things, Nick helped build The Home Depot’s original social strategy and set up their first Facebook page.
Three years later, Nick joined InterContinental Hotels Group to help do the same thing for their brands. But this time, he was working globally with a host of IHG brands including Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, and their IHG Rewards Club.
“I love the idea of entrepreneurship inside of a big business,” he says.
He explains that in a social role, you’re using big business resources to find innovative ways to bring new life to a brand that may not have gotten as far as they could. But, he says, it takes a lot to balance championing social media and keeping realistic expectations.
Like most of our members from the early days of social, Nick says he’s experienced the stages businesses go through from not getting it at all, to thinking social is the answer to all of their problems.
“As a social leader, you’ve got to walk a line between being a realist and being incredibly passionate and enthusiastic about the opportunities that are out there.”
Nick says that in a global social role, that responsibility of being a cheerleader is amplified.
“You have a lot more stakeholders in a global business. And while that seems somewhat obvious, what it really means is that you’re expected to be a cheerleader for a lot more stakeholders.”
Nick says he enjoys a good challenge and that his job is different every day.
In a global social role, you’re expected to be a cheerleader for a lot more stakeholders.
In fact, he says that one challenge many social leaders face — the shift from organic to paid social — is actually an opportunity.
“There used to be a pretty good chance that, if you had a brand people liked or respected and the content was interesting, people would pick it up and run with it. That’s just not the case today. And the jury is still out on if this is good or not. But at least it’s really forced marketers and businesses in general to really evaluate the value of social.”
With this shift, Nick thinks paid social media has made brands define metrics to hold themselves accountable much quicker than they would have without it.
“We aspire for social to be more of a horizontal than a vertical,” says Nick.
According to Nick, that means the real power of social media is the role it can play in internal communication and collaboration, recruiting, and using customer ideation.
“There’s a lot of interesting opportunities for social that move beyond the boxes a lot of businesses put it in: customer care, marketing, and external communications.”
For InterContinental Hotels Group, his ambition is to make the company a true social business.
Find Nick on Twitter and ask about his favorite donut shop in Georgia. Nick’s been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2010.